The Silverbacks (18-26-3-3) hit the road today for Vancouver Island, three games in as many days scheduled to begin tonight at 7pm in Duncan, BC versus the Cowichan Valley Capitals (21-26-2-3). Salmon Arm will visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (16-25-2-7) tomorrow at 7pm, and the Silverbacks will meet the Victoria Grizzlies (33-11-4-3) Sunday afternoon at 2pm.
Tonight will be the first meeting following the trade deadline last month, the Silverbacks packaged 20-year-old captain Mitch Skapski with 19-year-old Haydn Hopkins to the Capitals in exchange for 18-year-old’s Trevor Ayre and Ryan Hogg as well as future considerations. Skapski has four goals in 11 games with Cowichan Valley, he began this season with 14 goals and 36 points in 28 games with the Silverbacks. Hopkins has one goal and four points with 21-penalty-minutes in 11 games with the Capitals, he started the season with four goals and 15 points and 20 penalty-minutes in 25 games with Salmon Arm. Hogg of Duncan, BC has one goal in 10 games with the Silverbacks after five goals and 21 points in 41 games with his hometown team. Ayre has two goals and three points in nine games with Salmon Arm, he began this season with four goals and seven points in 20 games with the Capitals.
The Silverbacks and Trail Smoke Eaters (24-23-1-4) played for 70 minutes on Tuesday night, a 1-1 tie at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm. Ryley Booth returned on Tuesday, the 20-year-old defenseman missed six games with an upper body injury. Both Max Wutzke and Grayson Constable sat out, each injured last weekend in the Lower Mainland. The Capitals lost 5-4 at home to the Nanaimo Clippers (20-26-1-5) on Tuesday.
Salmon Arm has a record of 0-2-0-1 in February, 3-6-1-1 in January. Cowichan Valley is 1-3-0-0 this month, the Capitals began the new year at 1-8-0-1 in January. The Silverbacks are 2-4-0-1 versus the Island Division and 11-13-1-1 on the road. Cowichan Valley is 9-12-2-1 at home, 5-5-0-1 versus the Interior. The Capitals opened the home-and-home season series with a 5-2 victory in Salmon Arm in November.
The Silverbacks have 42 points in 50 games and are sixth in the Interior, Salmon Arm needs eight points to secure the final playoff spot. The top two teams in the Interior will receive a first round bye, with third place meeting sixth and fourth versus fifth in Best-of-7 series to begin the post-season. The Surrey Eagles (16-32-0-4) lost 5-4 in overtime last night at home to the Langley Rivermen (27-16-2-5). Surrey is fifth in the Mainland and six points back of the Silverbacks who have two games in hand, the fifth place team on the Mainland has an opportunity to crossover into the first round in the Interior.
Salmon Arm’s next home game is set for Wednesday, February 15th with the West Kelowna Warriors (25-24-0-2) at 7pm at the Shaw Centre. Each Silverbacks game is webcast PPV at hockeytv.com Each road game is broadcast live via voiceoftheshuswap.ca CKVS 93.7 FM and each home game is available audio only at mixlr.com/salmon-arm-silverbacks/Tune into Salmon Arm community radio each Monday at 7pm, and Tuesday at 7am for 30 minutes or more Silverbacks hockey talk.